101 Spells for the Common Man
This supplement clocks in at 35 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 31 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
After a brief introduction, we get a rather nice list of spells by suggested profession – want to know which spells work for doctors and artisans? There’s a list here, and each occupation lists the respective spells by spell level. The spells only cover the spell-levels from 0th to 2nd, focusing on magic for the common man, as befitting of a magical society. If that seems inconvenient to you, fret not, for the supplement also provides spell-lists by class, which btw. also include the Advanced Class Guide and Occult Adventures-classes.
The spells, as would be expected, cover utilities, and the first, Abernathy’s abacus sets an apt tone for the entirety of the supplement, providing a purely mental abacus that helps you perform calculations, including notes on actions to operate it. There are two versions of magical bed-time stories, which send targets down the sequence of fatigue-related effects, and which don’t work in combat – nice! (As an aside: These do work imho even better when combined with Everyman Gaming’s Sleeping Rules)
I was really enamored by bonds of hospitality – a representation of the concept of not partaking in violence against a host whose food or drink you have consumed, using a sanctuary-like basis, Utility spells to boil water, to butcher carcasses or for a butler’s bell, with the latter based on alarm, we have quite a few cool ones here. There also is a really funny one that magical parents would love – castellan’s dungball attracts low weight/value physical clutter and makes it form a katamari-style ball that follows you around! Speaking of order: Categorical organization is great to order those treasure heaps, and chef’s crew lets you have a taste of being a chef in a proper cuisine, providing a crew of unseen servants to follow your directions. Bonus points if you give them red or blue jackets. ;P
Speaking of which: Phantom mannequins do pretty much what you’d expect them to do. There is a spell that allows you to better filter out background noise, and if your mansion isn’t exactly up to snuff, there is pleasing façade, which makes a structure take on the idealized appearance of a painting, while the painting becomes an exaggerated representation of reality – kind of like Dorian Gray lite.
Kidding aside, there is a handy spell that emulates a cock’s crow. I’m not as happy with coiner’s honesty, as it identifies nonmagically altered and counterfeited coins, without taking the skill of the forger into account. Moneylender’s mark allows a bank to make a debtor’s outstanding debt ever more apparent with a darkening sign. A godsend for scribes would be mirrorquill, which makes a quill duplicate your writing as you go.
With two spells, conjure cart and create ice, you could duplicate more wholesome fish/meat markets, and some farmers will certainly love create soil. Particularly in a setting where entities with defiler-like powers exist, this cantrip may be of vital importance. Distill cure is neat, as it enhances the usefulness of a nonmagical curative, allowing for the rolling of a save twice, taking the better result. A spell to make an animal hardier and better suited to working as a draft animal, a herald’s voice enhancer…some cool ones. If the painful time of having to let go of a creature has come, you may want to consult the euthanize spell, which btw. thankfully does come with caveats that prevents abuse. Kudos!
Immediate water-evaporation is nice, and exquisite display case is certainly neat to showcase your triumphs. Fey gift can be used to barter with fey and keep them away (and there is a version for spirits as well!), while invite house spirit does the opposite, inviting a benevolent, supernatural entity into your home. Fortify wine increases the potency of a given draft. Greenery light can help you handle the regenerative properties of plants, and herder’s ward can help you keep your livestock in place – and if you do lose animals, you can still fall back on locate stock, which is based on arcane mark. Quick plucking and defeathering of targets, raise irrigation and prize vegetable growth boosts can really help. And yes, there is a magical sow seeds, a scarecrow spell…
Inner clock does what it says on the tin. Tired of gritty and grimy surroundings and those nasty creepy-crawlies? Louse screen suddenly makes your game much more hygienic for the characters. Projection of memory is amazing, as it creates a visual illusion of an object prior to damage sustained, which can be sued for puzzle/narrative purposes by the enterprising GM. There is a road ward that enhances the integrity of streets, and roots to plowshares turns a tree stump into a plow – very handy! Scent wall blocks, bingo, what you’d expect. Schedule is absolutely glorious, and lets you put a cantrip/orison on a timer, affecting objects. I’d have this one cast all over my stuff! Shadow lockpicks nets you thieves’ tools that later upgrade to masterwork, and surgeon’s watch pings you when the target takes damage. You can also cast a spell to direct vermin to weave and assemble a nonmagic woven item for you, and with the right spell, you can warp glass!
The pdf also includes a 20-level arcane worker NPC-class, basically a caster-commoner with spells of up to 4th level, ½ BAB-progression, good Will-saves, d6 HD and 4 + Int skills per level. The pdf contains also an array of sample NPCs – a CR 3 arcane artist, a CR 4 arcane baker, a CR 1/3 arcane farmhand, a CR 2 arcane parent, a CR ½ magical merchant, a CR 2 magical miner, a CR 2 singing tavernkeep, and finally a CR ½ town doctor.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard with red headers. The pdf uses fitting public domain and stock b/w-art, with some other contributions and annoyingly, has no bookmarks, which represents a serious and unnecessary comfort-detriment for a book of this size.
Jeff Gomez crafted this book with contributions from Andrew Ready, Charles Kulick, David J. Rust, Jason Owen Black, Jennifer R. Povey, Kat Evans, Kate Baker, Landon Winkler, Maria Smolina, Matthew Morgans, Matt Roth, Matthew Oatman, Mike Welham, Nik Geier, Nikolaï Samarine, Robert Metcalf and Wojciech Gruchala. And while that are a lot of authors, the quality of the material herein is consistent and high, offering a fun assortment of creative and cool spells that help depicting magical societies. Not all spells herein will be fantastic for all games, but even low/rare magic games will find a couple of worthwhile and intriguing spells in this book. All in all, a great book, only hampered by the really grating and puzzling absence of bookmarks. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get these everyday spells here on OBS!